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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 06-06-07, 04:23 AM   #1
cal_gundert05
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How/Why did you learn wrenching?

Obviously, knowledge of bicycle mechanics is pretty important, especially when you want to start building/upgrading a bike with specific components or you start touring.

But did you buy/receive your bike first, and learn the mechanics as problems arose? Did you practice on an old bike before buying/building one yourself? Who did you learn from, or did you do it alone/with help from a book/internet?

Just curious
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Old 06-06-07, 04:32 AM   #2
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Why: Too cheap to pay someone for something that I can do myself (and buy a new tool in the process)

How: "Installation is the opposite of removal."
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Old 06-06-07, 04:43 AM   #3
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I believe I was born with a Cresent wrench in one hand and a can of WD-40 in the other. For as long as I can remember I was constantly taking things apart, the 'rents got tired of putting them back together and told me... "You figured out how to take it apart, now figure out how to put it back together again." So started my adventures in to mechanics.

Sometimes it dosen't always go as planned. A special tool is neded to put it together, or you spend an hour fighting with something and when you least expect it things fall together.

You have your "Oh crap!" moments like when you pull apart a loose ball headset for the first time and the bearings scatter to the four corners of the work area. You just figure out somehow, how it's done or know how to find the information.
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Old 06-06-07, 05:09 AM   #4
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My wife and I had a lot of kids and not a lot of money. Bicycling was my only recreation and sometimes my transportation too. I learned to fix bikes because paying somebody else to do it just wasn't in the budget.
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Old 06-06-07, 05:31 AM   #5
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When I was around 11-12 yrs old, I had this Western Auto lead sled, fully fendered bike. I had a blast, but wanted something lighter. So bought this used Columbia 3-spd (I think) that wasn't quite working right. Sanded the frame and painted it, repacked the bearings, fooled with the gear changer (3-spd, S/A hub) until I got it to work right (no, I didn't take the hub apart-hey, I was just a kid!!). I just always liked taking things apart to see how they worked. I got some advice from the local bike shop-they thought it was cool that a kid was doing this. My sisters first dirt bike (motorcycle) was one my father & I built up from parts in a box- someone had started on a repair and couldn't do it, so we got it cheap and put it all back together. So, got starated at an early age, and found I enjoyed doing it.
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Old 06-06-07, 05:35 AM   #6
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I've been taking stuff apart since I was 2 years old, only recently have I learned how to put stuff back together! It's my mechanical engineering nature coupled with my insane cheapness. I detest paying people to do stuff I can figure out myself. I love wrenching for mates and they reciprocate by keeping me flush with Starbucks gift cards. Bikes are pretty easy and unlike when I worked as an auto mechanic, the tool outlay is minimal. Plus, it's just plain fun.
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Old 06-06-07, 05:37 AM   #7
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I learned by building my own bike. Well that and the Bike Mechanics thread here @ BF.

Guesstimate

^^^^ w00t! Go BF!
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Old 06-06-07, 05:40 AM   #8
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Bicycles are pretty simple machines. I figured most of it out reading the Park Tools page and trial & error. I learned to save a few dollars and to save time when I needed simple repairs. In the summer, it feels dumb to loose your bike for a while because you can't figure out how to adjust your derailleur.
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Old 06-06-07, 05:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cal_gundert05
Obviously, knowledge of bicycle mechanics is pretty important, especially when you want to start building/upgrading a bike with specific components or you start touring.

But did you buy/receive your bike first, and learn the mechanics as problems arose? Did you practice on an old bike before buying/building one yourself? Who did you learn from, or did you do it alone/with help from a book/internet?

Just curious

I have two sons and whenever we have a project to build one looks at the plans and material and says dad how are we going to do this the other already has the toolbox out and says lets do this.

I know whos bike I won't have to fix when they are older.
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Old 06-06-07, 05:53 AM   #10
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Really started when I wrecked my first 10 speed back in '73 (Gitane Interclub) and needed to fix it. My dad had a woodworking shop in the basement so I had the hand tools I needed to start, and it's grown from there. Sheldon Brown's site was an immense help when I got back into this a few years ago.
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Old 06-06-07, 06:40 AM   #11
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I'm cheap, but I do really enjoy it. Like a lot of others on here I've always been taking things apart and getting them back together. I learned through trial and error mostly. But also read alot on sheldon's site, parktool.com/repair, and here of course.
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Old 06-06-07, 06:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikejack
I have two sons and whenever we have a project to build one looks at the plans and material and says dad how are we going to do this the other already has the toolbox out and says lets do this.

I know whos bike I won't have to fix when they are older.
The one who thinks about what he's doing before he starts right in willy nilly?
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Old 06-06-07, 06:51 AM   #13
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#1 I'm Polish, so I'm cheap, um...tight, um...frugal with my money.

#2 I'd rather do something myself with the help of a phone call to a knowledgable person, a thread on an internet forum, a book, or a past experience of seeing a "fix" in done by someone else; I'd rather go that route then pay someone else.

#3 In all my past DIY projects...I have never blown anything up or caused bodily harm. So I have a good track record going.

#4 I sit in an office and pound code all day...I like the "balance of life" euphoria when I actually get to do something constructive done with my hands (other than pounding code)
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Old 06-06-07, 07:22 AM   #14
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I've always been good with my hands. Give me a book and make me study for a test, I'll more than likely fail it. But give me something to take apart, fix and put back together, i'll get it 90% correct on the first try (w/o help). Second time around, i'll get it perfect.

I've went from fixing bikes, to building bikes, to building wheels, and now to building frames
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Old 06-06-07, 07:45 AM   #15
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There were several skilled mechanics in my family, chief among them my father. Dad tried to discourage me from things mechanical on the theory you can earn more $$ with your head than your hands. I have the degrees and lifestyle to demonstrate he was correct but growing up in Nebraska, there were enough friends & cousins fiddling with tractors, old trucks & cars for me to gain some knowledge. My inherent cheapness & curiosity cause me to always try to fix things myself & bikes aren't that complicated.

My oldest son is an extremely analytical type with degrees in Mathematics & Chemistry. Growing up, his best friend (now an auto mechanic) was one of those take it apart & see how it works types. These two cleaned/lubed & maintained their own bikes and once disassembled & successfully reassembled a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub when they were twelve. They used rags to catch parts, my son Jeremy sketched things as they worked & Charlie did most of the work. They were quite a pair and today both can repair just about anything. The best approach is tempering the "take it apart" impulse with some thought & analysis. Don
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Old 06-06-07, 07:45 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacey
I believe I was born with a Cresent wrench in one hand and a can of WD-40 in the other.
Ouch.

I hope you've found a way to make it up to your mother
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Old 06-06-07, 08:04 AM   #17
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Of course!!! I 'fixed' her car.
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Old 06-06-07, 09:04 AM   #18
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When I was racing, I was swapping parts all the time, and I couldn't afford to pay a mechanic each time, nor could I go days or weeks without the bike.
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Old 06-06-07, 09:52 AM   #19
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Like many previous post authors, I took things apart to see how they work and to modify them or made things I wanted from scrap. My father had tools around. I was also an avid reader of magazines like Popular Mechanics in the days (1950's and 1960's) when they contained a dominance of articles on how to use tools and plans for all sorts of things to make.
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Old 06-06-07, 10:27 AM   #20
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Why: I don't think any mechanic is as good as I am.

How: God given. Like Stacey said, I was born with tools in hand. I've just always been able to fix, modify, improve almost anything.
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Old 06-06-07, 10:43 AM   #21
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I've always been interested in taking things apart and fixing them, but never had the guts too. Now when I have resources like BF and all these books availiable and a co-op at school, I find no reason not to try something myself and get help if needed.

I started by doing setups on my guitars because I paid a tech 60 bucks to do it, and I hated how it felt after.
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Old 06-06-07, 10:46 AM   #22
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Worked at an LBS in college doing assembly and I've always tinkered. Then I got into motorcycle racing for a couple of years and really learned how to wrench. Found that its prohibitively expensive to have a good race mechanic wrench on your bike, and you have to be able to fix things at the track, so I learned.
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Old 06-06-07, 11:06 AM   #23
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Why: I can't handle waiting for the bike to be fixed by the shop.

How: Trial and Error, some talent and just want to know how. I may as well do it as someone elsse, and I don't have the budget to make the fixes.
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Old 06-06-07, 12:33 PM   #24
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Three reasons.

1) I hate shopping physically (I do it all online)
2) I wanted a bike with custom parts
3) I didn't wanna pay anyone to do it for me

Oh and I'm mechanically inclined...
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Old 06-06-07, 12:37 PM   #25
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Nothing to do with economics. A tinkerer by nature, I tinkered with bikes as a kid so it was just natural for me to work on my bikes myself. Never received any mechanical training.

Last edited by roadfix; 06-06-07 at 12:54 PM.
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